What makes the 1980s Karate Kid reboot so appealing to a new generation?

Copyright: David Oakley 2021

Danial LaRusso may have been the main character from the original show, but this time around, there is absolutely no doubt that sensei Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) steals the show.

Why William Zabka has only been in Karate Kid and nothing much more is a tragedy, as he can act and has a great screen presence and brilliant comedy timing.

This show manages to keep the appeal of its original audience by being a perfect mixture of 1980’s nostalgia and innocence and, at the same time, showing the ugly side of how society has changed in terms of a decline in moral stamina and optimism of a brighter future for young people.

Unlike the earlier films, Cobra Kai has an uncomfortable edge to it, but at the same time, you find yourself smiling at the total lack of political correctness shown at certain times, which might explain the massive appeal to an older generation.

The other great thing about this show is whereas the Karate Kid was black and white in terms of good vs. bad, Cobra Kai stays firmly in the grey zone and flicks back and forth between good and bad for each of the main characters. Being a fan of the original, I never thought I would find myself rooting for the so-called bad guy Johnny Lawrence.

The minute you think Johnny has made a great decision and is about to turn his life around, he does something extremely stupid; its almost impossible to watch. He’s the David Brent of the Dojo at times.

karate kid

There has probably been no TV show since the original Karate Kid that has made kids ask their parents to sign them up for martial arts classes and learn Karate. The only difference this time around is that they all want to be Johnny Lawrence.

If you want your children to get off the computer, get fit, and learn something that’s not just about instant gratification, takes time to learn, and has every health benefit that you can imagine, and that also encourages confidence and self-esteem, you can’t go wrong by enrolling your children in a local martial arts class.